Textured speech bubble signs. Thanks sign, yes and no doodle. Hand drawn frames with ok, good and i love you text vector set. Colorful text clouds with different words. Messaging design elements


“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”

– Maya Angelou

Context and meaning. This would probably be the surrounding idea behind the quote above yet before elevating and looking through “meaning” it is but significant to dwell on the concrete and tangible: our lexicon. Before we can arrive at the level of ideation and meaningful significance of utterances, we always begin from where it started at the level of words and the study of such. Consequently, the study of words eventually will spring forth meaning and use as it naturally follows; appropriately used in the context of language learning and teaching, the exploration of lexicon and morphology can bring about progressive changes in language classrooms.

At the structural level of language, word formation and processes on vocabulary collection are the prime interest in language learning set-ups. Traditionally, phonetics and sound-patterns and phonics learning become the take-off point in language classrooms but they remain to be isolated and traditionalist in nature in terms of developing real-world competencies. Speech and pronunciation lessons and items in the curriculum to a point is good but are not essentially developmental but word-formation study is as Lightbown (qtd. in Brown, 2000: 274) claims that “knowing a language rule does not mean one will be able to use it in communicative interaction” just as knowing phonic enunciation is. Yet otherwise morphologic knowledge and competence necessitates understanding and gaining meaning from learning significant sound patterns in usage.

Second, as this writer is an English junior high school teacher, knowing that second language learners imbued with an over-arching culture and context understands from experience that vocabulary build-up on whole-language approaches and cultural sensitivity in learning lexicon in a target language. In second language learning, the phenomenon of overgeneralization occurs. Defined by Brown (2000) as “the incorrect application- negative transfer- of previously learned second language material to a present second language context” as a second language teacher, this writer constantly uses needs analysis and demographic profiling of learners to suit instruction well. For instance, teaching literature and understanding difficult words from reading selections involve not just knowing etymological background but letting learners “experience” in context.

Lastly, in actual morphological studies in language classroom settings we are reminded that “the learner’s task is enormous because language is enormously complex” (Lightbown qtd. in Brown, 2000). Significant learning on language items, vocabulary storehouses within learners may be latent in some cases and to some extent to second language learners in general, which might not be ‘felt’ at the onset of lexicon instruction. Nunan and Bailey (2009) support that “learners may simply not produce a particular language structure, lexical item, or speech act at all. It is impossible to conclude that a learner has not acquired an item simply because he or she has not used it in your presence”. Thus, this writer is conscious and cautious enough to place events of language learning instructions that utilize real-world second language usage tasks and authentic assessments.

We simply do not study words and word-formation processes as they are. “The use of morphology measures is especially warranted in light of complexity trade-offs believed to occur both in language development – when growth in one linguistic domain (e.g. syntax) is temporarily prioritized overgrowth in another (e.g. morphology) – as well

as cross-linguistically, in the form of balancing effects between different domains of the linguistic system.” (De Clercq & Housen, 2019). Placed in the context of language instruction and second language learning, lexicon and morphology should be objectively studied yet at the same time contextually appropriate.



Brown, H. (2000). Principles of language learning and teaching. 4th ed. Addison Wesley Longman Inc.

De Clercq, B. & Housen, A. (2019). The development of morphological complexity: A cross-linguistic study of L2 French and English. Second Language Research 35

(1), 71–97. DOI: 10.1177/0267658316674506

Nunan, D & Bailey, C. (2009) Exploring second language classroom research: A complete guide. Cengage Learning Asia Pte. Ltd.

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  1. Indeed, words can be discussed in a variety of ways like by looking at their structure morphology and how are they arranged in patterns (syntax) as well as by understanding their meanings and how they are used in a particular real situation (pragmatics).

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